Memphis seeks proof of parent's education level
In a letter this past July to parents conducting home schools not associated with a church-related school, Memphis City Schools insisted that parents provide proof of their education level. According to state law, parents teaching their children in such schools must have a high school diploma or GED for grades kindergarten through 8 and a baccalaureate degree for grades 9 through 12 unless an exemption for the latter is granted by the department of education. However, Memphis City's letter required parents to produce either the original or certified copy of one of the following documents to verify the educational level of the person conducting the home school: high school diploma, GED certificate, college degree, certified high school transcript showing graduation date, certified college transcript with hours completed or degree conferred, or other original proof of education level.
At the request of a Home School Legal Defense Association member family, attorney Dewitt Black wrote to the Memphis Board of Education and pointed out that state law does not require parents to provide this documentation. While the parent's notice of intent to conduct a home school must include, among other things, "the qualifications of the parent-teacher," state law does not require parents to provide any documentation to prove their qualifications.
In the fall of 1996, HSLDA, along with Tennessee home school leaders, worked with the state department of education to develop forms for parents to use in notifying local school districts of their intention to conduct a home school. The form for a home school not associated with a church-related school (designated by the state as an "independent home school") only asks the parent to check a "yes" or "no" blank indicating that the required educational level has been attained. No documentation as proof of the parent's qualifications is to be submitted with the form.
Other Tennessee parents conducting home schools who are asked to submit documentation not required by state law should contact HSLDA for assistance.
- Dewitt T. Black